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FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice Regarding Section 106 Review of State of Louisiana, LA Department of Education/Recovery School District (RSD) Proposal to Demolish the Thomy Lafon Elementary School, 2601 Seventh Street, New Orleans, LA - Seeking Public Comment"
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Name: Nabil Baddour
City: New Orleans, LA
Lafon School Building
Comments: The Lafon building carries with it virtually no benefit to current efforts to revitalize an area of New Orleans in need of dramatic improvement. As it stands, a number of business enterprises, community organizations, and active citizens have galvanized their efforts and made the resurrection of the CJ Peete community an impending reality. That is to say, the community will be rebuilt and inhabited. The question of the new community's ability to thrive in a sustainable way lies at the heart of FEMA's decision to maintain the Lafon building.

The blighted property can only serve as a nuisance, and drain otherwise well spent funding to maintaining a useless structure. Furthermore, while the age of the building is currently being touted as a reason to maintain the structure (on grounds of its historical roots), it's age in fact represents a grave safety concern. New Orleans suffers from among the highest rates of lead poisoning in the nation. Any effort to keep the Lafon school in place is a vote to maintain a critically disabling health hazard in place in the new community.

While FEMA's motivations are admirable in their sensitivity to the rich history of New Orleans, in this particular situation the focus is best placed on the future of it's people. It is the city's people after all, that enrich the structures in which they inhabit. In this case, the people have spoken, the Lafon school must be demolished in an envrionmentally friendly way to minimize toxic contents from polluting its footprint and the surrounding land.